Study Scripture (Being Challenge)
March 10, 2021
Finding identity in Scripture
God made you. Since He made you, He gets to who you are. John 1:3 NIV
And not only did God make you, but God you. Look at the lengths he went to show you: John 3:16 NIV
God did all of this so that you would become His . 1 John 3:1 NIV
As God’s , you’re given the incredible privilege to Him. 1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV
As God’s own possession, His “”, you have countless opportunities to demonstrate His character and tell others about Him. 1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV
In everything you do you can live a life of – living with love and integrity and sharing Jesus with people. Your identity with God is secure because it is eternal and unconditional. Romans 8:37-39 NIV
And as you go out with God, and conquer with Him, you can live a life filled with these characteristics: Galatians 5:22-23
Why would anyone choose to live any other way? Is all of this too good to be true? No, the end is even better than the beginning! 1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV
CHALLENGE: Assess how well you are doing with the following habits. Scale of 1-5 (5 represents mastery, 1-4 represents improvement needed)
1. I read the Bible every day last week.
2. I find my identity in the truth of Scripture.
3. I have read the entire Bible cover-to-cover.
4. I always look forward to reading the Bible.
5. I follow a Bible reading plan.
Based on your answers, where is your greatest opportunity for growth?
The four Rs of studying Scripture
From Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life”
Knowing who you are the way you live.
We find who God is and who we are when we study Scripture. Romans 10:17
CHALLENGE: Follow a Bible Reading Plan
Not a faith
As we explore the Bible and first century historical accounts, one of the things we see over and over is the evidence that Jesus really did live, He really did die, and He really did rise from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus ensures us that we don’t have a blind faith.
The first session, we talked about how Jesus opened the Scriptures and explained them to the disciples. But this time, look at what it says: “Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45 NIV Their minds were opened.
The understanding, the why, the foundational, earth-shifting piece that changes everything is Jesus’ resurrection. 1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV
CHALLENGE: “Resurrection” Research (use a concordance, commentary, study Bible, or Bible Study)
Acts 1:21-22 NIV, Acts 2:32 NIV, Acts 17, 32-33 NIV
If the resurrection of Jesus is real, how does it matter to you and your choices?
If you still struggle to believe the resurrection of Jesus, what’s holding you back? What are some of the questions you’d like to have answered?
1 John 4:1 NIV
Do you know God’s Word well enough to distinguish between truth and lies? Zach Zehnder says “when I preach, I tell my church to listen to what I say, but they should always test what I say. I’m sure I unintentionally said some things that were wrong. Similarly, you should test what you are reading in this study.”
How do we test anyone’s teaching?
- We look to the context of the passage to see if what the teacher is saying is consistent with the wider text.
- We look at a trustworthy study Bible to see what Godly scholars say about the passage
- Talk to someone who has a different point of view to see the passage from another angle.
- Determine whether the teaching is consistent with the truth you’ve been taught before.
The truth is always centered in Jesus. Do you know the voice of Jesus? In speaking of himself, Jesus declared that He is the Good Shepherd: John 10:3-5 NIV
Followers of Jesus are able to recognize His voice and run from the voice of the enemy.
CHALLENGE: Bible Memory – Memorize a new verse this week. Write it on a notecard or create a new wallpaper for your phone with the verse on it. View or design “verse of the day” images in YouVersion app
Suggested verses: Psalm 136:1, Romans 5:8, Proverbs 3:5-6, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16-17
REFLECT ON IT
You are what you
It’s not just about God’s Word. It’s about being by God’s Word.
Rick Warren says, “God’s Word generates life, creates faith, produces change, frightens the devil, causes miracles, heals hurts, builds character, transforms circumstances, imparts joy, overcomes adversity, defeats temptation, infuses hope, releases power, cleanses our minds, brings things into being, and guarantees our future… You should consider it as essential to your life as food.”
Jesus explained: Matthew 4:4 NIV
As we consume the Scriptures, it us. And when we’re transformed by God, we help the world.
Challenge: Reflection Time – Spend some time reflecting on a verse or section of Scripture. As you read it, write down what it means to you. What is God saying to you through His Word today?
God is through the Scriptures
Imagine receiving a text that reads:
“I was thinking about you. We haven’t spent much time together lately. Let’s catch up on Friday night!”
How would you respond if it was from Mom or Dad?
How would you respond if it was from someone you were hoping would become your best friend (or maybe even boyfriend or girlfriend)?
Being able to identify the writer makes all the difference in the world! The words have a very different meaning depending on who wrote it.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
How did God interact with men and work through them to provide us with His words? Here’s what we know from Scripture:
- To Jeremiah, God said: “Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book” Jeremiah 36:2 NIV
- David wrote: “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me and His word was on my tongue” 2 Samuel 23:2 NIV
- Peter tells us the holy men of God spoke “they were moved by the Holy Spirit” 2 Peter 1:21 NLT
- Paul informs us the things which he taught were expressed “in words taught by the Spirit” 1 Corinthians 2:13 NIV
These are God’s words, breathed into the lives of some great men of the faith through the Holy Spirit and recorded in their own styles for our benefit so we can hear God’s voice as often as we need.
If it were great men who wrote the Bible, it might be a great piece of literature but it wouldn’t change anybody’s eternity. But if it’s God’s words, then it changes everything!
Think about it…
- If it were Peter who said “Cast all your anxiety on me because I care for you” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV – But God gives you confidence and strength because you know He is in charge and He cares for you.
- If it were only a human writer who said “I will never leave you or forsake you” Hebrews 13:5 NIV – But God saying this same statement gives you hope and comfort especially in tough times.
- If it were Jeremiah who said “I will love you with an everlasting love” Jeremiah 31:3 NIV – But God says it making us feel special and important.
Almost 90% of American households contain a Bible, the average household has 3… but even among Americans who worship in church, less than half read the Bible daily, and less than a quarter have a systematic approach for reading the Bible.
A frequently asked question: How do I hear the voice of God? Simple answer: If the Bible contains the very words of God, then every day, at any moment, you can open the pages of your Bible and hear Him speaking to you! We hear God’s voice most clearly when we read the Bible. The author of Hebrews declares to us that these words are alive and active. (Hebrews 4:12)
CHALLENGE: Share Scripture – choose a Scripture to encourage someone by text, email, or handwritten note